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6 Customary and Judicial Practices as Seen in Criminal Sales of Land in Qing Manchuria

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the procedures and legal ramifications of criminal sales of Qing land (both manor land and bannerland) to commoners in Manchuria in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It uses legal records from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in conjunction with Japanese ethnographies from the twentieth century. The chapter also makes significant use of the more abundant records that have survived from the joint court sessions of the Shengjing Board of Revenue (Shengjing hubu) and the Imperial Household Department in Shengjing (Shengjing neiwufu). Qing records of homicide trials and criminal investigations into illegal sales of banner and manorial land suggest that in Manchuria most if not all sales started as conditional exchanges. The conditional sale was a means to retain control over land in an economy where there were few options outside farming.

Keywords: criminal sales; homicide trials; Imperial Household Department; Manchuria; Qing land; Shengjing Board of Revenue



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